MillWorks: Luxury Leather Bookmarks

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Luxury Leather Bookmarks

At right, three bookmarks made with antiqued/distressed top grain leather. A fourth is seen peeking out from the book.

The leather you see in stores is often bonded or imitation. Nicer quality leather, such as full grain or top grain, is harder to find, expensive, and thick. Yet, there's a way to make nice-quality leather bookmarks at a reasonable price (for me, they were less than a dollar each!). They make nice little gifts (Obviously, this isn't an appropriate gift to give to someone who's opposed to the use of animal products, vegan, etc. Please remember to be considerate of people's feelings towards animal products.).

Start by looking around at luxury online furniture stores, and see if they sell swatches. Pay attention to the size of a swatch, looking for one that's a decent size. I started off with 6" x 6" swatches that had to be cut down (more on that soon!). Some companies may offer swatches for free, but I felt more comfortable paying for the swatches I got.

Hint: I'm a big fan of leather that's distressed. Besides, it feels like you're getting more for your money that way, and something with more character, rather than just a flat color.

Once you have the swatches, remove them from any backing. The glue "distressed" quite a bit of my leather swatch, as seen at the top of the sample in this photo:

That being said, even avoiding that section, there was still more than enough for four bookmarks. Each one is about 1 1/2" x 4 1/2". The size will vary on yours, based on how much you started with, and how much you had to cut off.

You can make a mock-up pattern with a piece of paper, until you feel like you have a good size for a bookmark.

Using a ruler or your paper pattern, score the leather with a mechanical pencil's lead to show the cutting marks.

I was able to cut through the leather using just normal scissors.

That's literally all there is to it. Literally. Ha. Get it? Oh, well.

Make the finished bookmarks even more special by typing up a description of the leather and its maker. Here's an example of how to give proper credit: "Company's leather description here" (Company name).

You can then pack it up nicely however you would like. (I put them in baggies along with a printout of the description.)


I like this craft because it takes something most people would see as a throwaway item, and turns it into something special and practical. Genuine leather like this will age and change over time. And as any bookworm knows, we have our favorite bookmarks, so it's a lifetime gift!

Have fun!

Providing crafts since October 2011. Bookmark instructions from July 2016. Copyright 2011- and all contents by Melissa. Resulting products can only be kept or given away as gifts. Always keep safety in mind.